Published: 19 October 2020

Professor Sabine Benoit’s research adds value to the convenience retailing sector

Many convenience retailers find it difficult to compete with stores that are part of the larger retail chains, who have more data and resources to support managerial decision-making. Professor Sabine Benoit’s research: ‘Add value to convenience retailing through improved pricing, new stores and capacity building’, provides retailers with the knowledge required for better business.

The research supports retailers in three main areas: consumer behaviour, technology and price management. It has already triggered successful changes to the strategic positioning, store concept, service portfolio and wholesale price system of a major European wholesaler, and substantially increased the sales of over 90,000 convenience retail clients across Europe.

Retailing research very much focusses on large retailers, making this research relevant and valuable. The underpinning research looks at consumer behaviour and how much convenience contributes to the overall consumer perception of the experience, and why consumers choose convenience over other retail outlets with potentially more choice and ease of payment.

The desk research on technology summarised over 80 products and services that are currently used within the sector, including location-based services, in-store communication, gamification services and checkout and payment systems. It creates typologies of tools for different purposes (faster, easier, cheaper and so on).  

Research on price management shows that convenience store managers rely mainly on intuition about the market for their price management decisions since they lack data, however tests reveal that only half of their beliefs are accurate. Practices need to be adapted to enhance pricing effectiveness, and store managers can seize opportunities by communicating their prices better and focusing on non-customers.

The research influenced changes in the pricing strategy of a major European wholesaler group.

The research has also led to the creation of the Association of Consumer Stores (ACS) ‘explorers’, a group of forward-thinking, tech-savvy independent convenience retailers, the ACS Study Tour, and the University of Surrey being selected as a partner for the ‘Convenience Leadership Programme’. For details of the programme, where you can learn the skills to make and implement effective decisions in this sector, please take a look at our brochure here.

For details of Surrey Business School’s new Professional Retail Price Management programme, which gives you the skills to apply pricing in retail environments, please download our brochure here.

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